Bart and Chris

By E Walk

(Copyrighted by the Author)

Edited by Radio Rancher

Chapter 12 - Bart Gets a Job Offer

As we were leaving the Pizza Palace, Ms. Sweet suggested, "Guys, why don't we go back to my place and get a good stiff drink. Tip and Ty can take care of the children for one night, and I have some things I would like to talk to you about when there is no one else around."

When we got to Ms. Sweet's house, she took us to the living room. "Mark, the bar is behind that partition. I'd like a nice tall glass with a double shot of scotch, a couple of ice cubes and a splash of soda. You fix whatever you guys want, while I go get us some cheese and crackers for us to munch on."

Zack and I were at a loss as to what was going on. Zack decided he would have a bourbon and soda and I decided on a glass of water with lots of ice and splash of scotch.

As soon as we were seated, Ms. Sweet started, "Look, Men, when it's just the three of us, you will call me Amber and that's not negotiable."

Zack snickered, "Look, Ambie, you didn't call this little soirée just to tell us that. How about putting your cards on the table so we know what's on your mind."

"Zackie, I said Amber, not Ambie. The primary reason for the secrecy is that it has to do with Bart. He, as I expected, is a very intelligent young man. I plan to work with him through the summer. I think the best environment for him after that might be the Monmouth Academy. That is where Tory goes to school. It is a private school and they have a structured/unstructured environment."

I was confused by that comment, "Amber, what are you saying when you say they have a structured/unstructured environment. If it's a private school, then it must be relatively costly to send a child there."

"Mark, the students are enrolled in classes according to their abilities. Bart would be tested before he could be enrolled. They tailor each student's curriculum according to their individual needs. The students are technically entered into a class like any other school, but by the time the students get into a classroom, no one has a clue if they are a sophomore, junior, or a senior. The school has an excellent academic record and their sports programs aren't too shabby either."

"As far as expenses, I'm a benefactor of the school, so there will be no problem getting Bart an academic scholarship. You probably don't realize this, but Bart is really bummed out because you and Doctor Feren have suggested that he not play contact sports. I think maybe the two of you should rethink that suggestion before school starts in the fall."

Amber looked at Zack, "Zackie, honey, I need another drink. My throat is getting dry."

Zack was ready, "Ambie, honey, I'll make sure it's extra strong and you will think that you had a spoonful of sugar to make it go down."

When Zack came back with her drink, Miss Sweet added, "Another reason for Bart to go the Academy is that is where Tory goes to school. I was never so glad as I was when she broke up with her last boyfriend. The jerk was laying a guilt trip on her because she wouldn't have sex with him. He was a real loser. Enough about the school issue. After all, Tory is my only granddaughter and I want only the best for her."

"Next issue, you need to get Bart a learner's permit to drive as soon as possible. I can use the driver's manual to motivate him so he will want to pass the written part of the test. Mark, Monday morning is about the only free time you have, so why don't you take him then. I'll stay with Barbie while you're gone."

I held up my hand, "Amber, slow down. You're throwing ideas out so fast that I'm not sure what's going to happen next."

Ms. Sweet shook her head, "Mark and Zack, I'm just starting. I so want your two sons to make it good, after knowing what they have had to endure in their short lives."

"Next item of business; If you go to church tomorrow, go to the early service in the morning and then meet me here at the house at ten and we'll take Tip, Ty and the children to my farm. I'll call and tell Tory and her parents to be here. We can form a convoy to the farm. We can eat lunch at a quaint restaurant, not far from the farm, and then you can barbecue some food for dinner before we return to the city. We should be home by eight o'clock. I want to see how the boys respond to the farm. I think Chris especially will have a great time."

I looked at the clock, "Amber, we need to go, it's already after 11:00 and if we're to go to the early church service, we need to get home."

I took the drink glasses to the sink and washed them and put them on the strainer to dry.

We hugged Amber and said goodnight. As we were driving home, Zack started, "Mark, I think that is one lonely lady. Why else would she care so much about our sons? I guess we, or rather you, need to keep her busy. Hopefully the boys will be asleep when we get home and we can play some more rodeo games tonight."

We were met at the door by a frantic Chris, "Dads, where have you been? Why didn't you call and tell us that you were fine? I'm a nervous wreck."

I grabbed Chris and picked him up, "Well, Mr. Nervous Wreck, we were talking to Grandma Sweet. Now you get your little behind to bed and get to sleep, since we have to go early church in the morning. We have plans for the rest of the day."

When I put Chris down, he stood there, "What are we going to be doing?"

Zack picked Chris up and hugged him, "It's a surprise. Now go to bed or do I have to carry you?"

Chris squirmed to get down, "I can go by myself. But would you please, not make us worry about you."

I hugged Chris again, "Chris, we'll try to do better the next time."

Chris left and Bart was standing there as if he had something he wanted to say, "Dads, I was offered a job with the band tonight. They only perform on weekends and mostly at the Pizza Palace, I would make $25.00 each night I perform, and Mr. Mike and Ms. Marci want me to do a couple of Elvis impersonations each night I am there. They will pay me another $20.00 each time I perform."

I hugged Bart, "We need to discuss this more, and I don't think tonight is the time to decide. You're too excited and we need to sit down and discuss the pros and cons. Now I suggest that you get to bed since we are going to the early church service and then we're going to Ms. Sweet's farm for the afternoon."

Bart looked upset, "But Tory and I told the others at the table we would go to the Amusement Park with them."

I looked at Bart, "I don't remember giving you permission to go to an amusement park. Besides, Tory will be going with us. Remember, young man, you need to check with us before you make any commitments."

Bart looked like he was going to cry, "I'm sorry, Dad. I just assumed that it would be okay. I promise I'll check next time before I commit to something. I'm going to bed. I just realized how tired I am."

After Bart left, Tip scowled, "Guys, you were a little hard on the boys weren't you?"

I was wasn't going to back down. "Tip and Ty, Bart is just beginning to feel like a normal teenager and is going to push the limits as far as he can. He needs to learn right now that he is not in control."

"Now about tomorrow, Ms Sweet wants to take all of us to her farm. She seems to think it would be a fun experience for the children. Zack and I and the boys are going to early church. If you and the children would like to join us that would be great. We are going to meet at Mrs. Sweet's house at ten. She is going to ask Tory's family to go with us. I guess I should probably rephrase that, I think she is going to tell them that they are going with us."

Tip started to laugh, "Do you realize that you just did what you accused Bart of doing. You accepted an invitation for us without checking."

Zack stood up for me. "Mark said, `If you would like to go with us that we are going to meet at Mrs. Sweets house at 10:00.' He didn't say you had to go. He simply put the invitation on the table. It's up to you two to decide what you want to do about it, but I pity you if the children find out that you chose not to go."

Ty frowned, "That sounds like a case of coercion, if I ever heard one."

I started to the stairs, "Come on, Mr. Jackson, these people are no fun. Let's go see who else is going to yell at us tonight."

When we got to the apartment, the boys bedroom door was open so I went to see what was happening. Chris was cuddled against Bart who was holding him. Both boys were breathing very quietly so I guessed that they were asleep. I decided to leave the door open so there would be some light going into the bedroom.

Zack and I went into our bedroom. I took a shower first, followed by Zack. We had decided that it might not be a good idea to take one together since it might wake our sons. When Zack returned from his shower, I pushed him onto the bed and declared, "It's my turn to tame the bronco tonight. The poor bronco will be so tired that he will never be able to get up again."

Zack started to respond but I stopped him and stuck my tongue in his mouth so he couldn't speak and mounted my stead. He fought valiantly, but I won.

Needless to say we were both a little tired when the alarm sounded at six thirty. I went to check on the two boys and they were still sound asleep, so I decided to let them sleep. Zack had fallen back to sleep and I went to the kitchen and there was no sign of anyone, so I went for a run by myself. My mind was cluttered with everything that had been happening. When I got back to the house, I was met by an irate Chris, "Dad, why didn't you tell anyone where you were?"

"Christopher, everyone was asleep when I left. How could I tell anyone that I was going to go running?"

Chris wasn't to be denied, "Dad, please leave us a note next time, especially when you're by yourself. If you don't stop disappearing, I'm probably going to have gray hair and I'm only eight."

Tip and Ty were standing there laughing, "Yeah, Nano Mark, you're trying to make us old before our time. Go take your shower while we fix breakfast. Chris, go make sure Bobby and Billy are up. We've already checked on Becky and Barbie."

When I got to the apartment, Zack and Bart were discussing something in the bathroom. Neither one of them had any clothes on. "Well what do we have here, a nudist convention or something? I suggest you get presentable before Chris gets here. I don't need him yelling at me again."

I started to get undressed and Chris came in and just dropped his pajamas and climbed into the shower, "Come on Dad, breakfast is going to be ready if we don't hurry. Dad Zack and Bart, you need to get dressed and go help Uncle Tip and Uncle Ty."

I whispered to Chris, "You sure are bossy."

Chris smiled at me, "Dad, I'm just acting like you."

What a kick in the stomach that comment was. I guess I need to think about what I say.

When Chris and I got to the kitchen, everyone was already eating their waffles and sausage, Everyone was dressed for church and after the dishes were done, we made our way to church in two vehicles.

We were shown to a pew, but since it was the early service there was no children's church so they had to stay with us. Barbie began to get fidgety, but the rest of the children were content to work with the packets that the ushers had handed them.

When we arrived back at the house, I took charge, "Everyone, go put on some old clothes that are clean. Don't wear your good clothes."

Bobby challenged me, "Why are we dressing in old clothes, I thought we were going out for lunch?"

I smiled and rephrased what I had said, "I suggest that you put on some old clothes that you don't wear to school. You may have an occasion today to get them a bit dirty."

Billy looked at me, "Nano Mark, why are you talking in circles? Why can't you just tell us what's happening?"

I threw up my hands, "Okay, Ms. Sweet is taking us to her farm for the afternoon. We're going to stop at the pig pen for lunch and she is going to feed us things like the animals eat for dinner."

Chris looked at me, "Daddy Mark, why won't you tell us what's really going to happen?"

Zack answered, "People, all we know is that we're meeting Ms. Sweet and Tory's family at ten o'clock and then we're going to Ms. Sweet's farm after we eat. That's really all we know, so do as Nano Mark asked you to do, please."

We finally had everyone ready and we decided to take the van and Tip's car since we didn't know what the plans were. We were about 15 minutes late because of the static we had taken. We were met by Tory and three young boys. I looked at them and they seemed to be about the ages of Bobby, Chris and Billy. Tory motioned for us to follow her into the house.

As soon as we entered, Ms. Sweet made the introductions. Tory's parents, Richard and Trish Sweet appeared to be a little older than I would have expected. Tory's three brothers, Ricky, Randy and Robbie immediately started to talking to our three boys. They sure weren't bashful.

Ms. Sweet took charge, "We need to mount up, I told Ted and Louisa that we would meet them and their family at The Hungry Eye at 11:30."

She proceeded to dictate that we would take four vehicles and who would be riding with whom. Her son and his wife were to take Bobby and Ricky, Tory was to drive Ms. Sweet's car and take Chris and Randy, Tip and Ty were to take Billy and Robbie. She, Becky and Barbie were going to ride with Zack and me. We were going to lead the caravan.

We arrived at The Hungry Eye at 11:25. We walked in and the children all had to go to the bathroom, of course. We walked to the reception desk and a young couple and two cute young daughters, who were still dressed in their Sunday best, were waiting for us.

Mrs. Sweet made the introduction, "Everyone, these are the managers of my farm, Ted and Louisa Sharp and their two lovely daughters, Kara and Holly. Let's go eat."

The hostess looked up at Mrs. Sweet, "Oh hi, Miss Sweet, Let me check your group, that will be one senior, six adults, two teenagers, ten children under 12. Mrs. Sweet you know I should really charge the adult rate for those two teenagers. They'll probably eat more than anyone else."

Ricky was giggling, "Miss, don't let them fool you. They'll be too busy looking at each other to eat. Me and Bobby will probably eat more than them."

The young woman started to laugh, "Maybe I should charge you for 10 adults." She handed us each a cup and led us to a table.

When everyone had a chance to sit, the young lady reminded us, "You can make as many trips to the buffet as you would like. Just remember to get a clean plate each time you do. Enjoy your meal."

After the young lady left, I stood, "If you take something, you need to eat it. There are too many hungry people in the world to waste food."

Zack and I made sure the younger children had what they needed and I was watching, and Ty's children and Chris had no problem eating what they had taken. Randy was playing with his food. Chris looked at me "Dad, Randy really doesn't like that stuff on his plate. He's afraid it's going to make him sick."

Randy's Dad looked at Randy, "Son, what did you take that you think is going to make you ill?"

"I took a small spoon full of what I thought was lasagna but it has this yucky purple stuff in it and it feels funny."

I decided to intervene, "Randy and everyone, you need to read the signs and see what you are getting. Randy, give me your plate and go get something you might like."

Randy had gotten some eggplant Parmigianino. I happened to like eggplant Parmigianino, but I can't imagine too many young people liking it.

After dinner, it was about a twenty minute ride to Mrs. Sweet's so called farm. We exited the highway and drove along a tree covered lane. We approached a big house; the first thing we saw was a wrap around porch. There were several buildings behind the house. This did not appear to be your ordinary farm.

The Sharp's went to change clothes and the six boys disappeared. Ms. Sweets' grandsons knew the farm. Ms. Sweet assured us, "There is no way they could get hurt unless they bothered the animals."

We were interrupted by Chris, "Dads, look this little colt. He must like me. He keeps following me. Grandma Sweet, what's it's name?"

Ted reappeared after changing into jeans, "Chris, he was just born two days ago. He doesn't have a name yet. Let me get you some cubes that you can feed him and he may never leave you alone."

This day was going to be one that Tip and Ty's children and Chris and Bart are going to remember for a long time. Well I don't think any of us will forget this day.

Author's Note: If you would like to read more of this story and other interesting stories, you might wish to visit

Editor's Notes: This was a very interesting chapter. I have a feeling that Bart is going to become a really fine young man. I think I said that before, but hey, I only have so much memory to work with here. I'm sixty one years old, soon to be sixty two. I can't possibly remember what I used to remember.

Oh by the way, get ready for one of my famous rants here... Are you ready?

Mark made a statement at the buffet that reflects something that my mom used to tell me when I was but a wee lad, "If you take something, you need to eat it. There are too many hungry people in the world to waste food." On the face of it, that is seemingly pretty good advice, but let's think about it. Just what good does it do any starving people for me or anyone else to eat all the food they take?

My mom used to say, "Eat your vegetables because there are people starving in..." some place that I honestly don't remember. Now again if we analyze that just a bit, we again see the total absurdity of it. I was a kid, sitting at a table in Illinois; what earthly good did my eating my green beans do for someone starving in Ethiopia of France or whatever the country she used. It made no sense to me then and it makes no sense to me now.

Of course I did learn a lesson, because there was at least one time that I made my opinion on that subject known to my loving parents. And I quote as best I can remember, "Well if they want it then let them have it. I sure don't have any use for it. And besides, what good will my eating it do for them?"

You wouldn't believe the storm that started. I honestly can't remember how they punished me, but I am sure it involved not getting any dessert for some time into the twenty fifth century.

For any of you who have children and plan to use that "logic" on them, I can tell you for certain that it doesn't work. Kids are a lot more literal minded that adults are. Even if they are smarter than I was, I promise you they will be thinking it and you will have lost a good number of brownie points in their eyes. Let them know that it is not a good idea to waste food, but make it something logical to them, like, "If you won't eat it we will have to throw it out and that is a shame since one of us might have wanted it and now we can't have it." Something like that might make some sense to a child. You can tell them about the starving people at a different time, perhaps you should bring that up when you are gathering food to give to a food drive or if you plan on giving money to one of the groups that are shown on TV late at night, while Sally Struthers whines about those poor little children in Africa who will get enough food for three months if you just send them a thousand dollars. God, that woman can cry pitifully, can't she? Okay, I think I have milked that for all it is worth, so for now, soapbox mode, OFF!

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher